Skelmersdale Utd 1-2 Pilkington

By Martin Stewart

A strong performance from Skem ends in a devastating late burst from Pilks to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Matt Potter made only a couple of changes to the side that had come so close at Cheadle on Saturday, Tom Fagan replacing the injured Mark Bollongino and Tom Parry in for unavailable Dana Amaral. Also added to the bench was new signing Jack Grimshaw.

As they did in the last two games United started off strongly, attempting to press their opponents deep in their own half. As early as the first minute Luke Byron stole the ball out wide and sent in a dangerous cross. A minute later another run from Byron was ended with a penalty shout ignored by the referee, the ball fell kindly to Gabriel Ellis who rattled the bar with his shot. Two more minutes and Parry latched onto a long bowl out by Ben Barnes, he played in Byron who shot over the bar. The visitors were as rattled as the frame of their goal.

The visitors were being kept to long balls into the channels and on 6 minutes one such ball found Laird in the box, whose shot was saved by the legs of Barnes.

After a ferocious start, the game settled down and it took until the 19th minute for the next serious action, a deep corner by Skem from the left that was missed by everyone in the box.

United were playing some great attacking football and on 25 mins they were rewarded. A looped cross from the left was only half-cleared by the keeper’s punch, it fell to Jay Howell on the edge of the box, who smashed it so hard back into the net it almost took the keeper’s head with it.

Pilks now started to get into the game and after forcing another save from Barnes’ feet, Beckett beat two men and tried to curl an effort into the top corner that went just wide HT 1-0.

The second half wasn’t the exciting affair of the first, as Skem tried to hang onto their lead with less pressing and shifted control of the game over to their opponents.

Ben Lightfoot played a chip down the right for Ellis who shot early, but it was charged down. Then on the hour mark, Parry tried an audacious chip from the halfway line that just went wide of the goal.
Ellis almost made it two on 71 mins when he charged down a clearance outside the box, but his shot was straight at the keeper.

Just as they were looking comfortable, disaster struck when a long throw-in bounced past all the defenders at the near post, leaving substitute Gilchrist an open goal to equalise.

Fortune had one more cruel trick to play on the home side, just three minutes later when a long ball from the back found its way to the same man and he scored his and his teams’s second of the match FT 1-2

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